The Labour Day Classic is here, and this year, the Battle of Alberta takes on a whole new meaning. The Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders are not only fighting for bragging rights in Alberta, but in the West Division as well.
Edmonton has really been slumping of late, especially offensively without the use of WR Fred Stamps. Stamps was one of the four import receivers that were left out of the lineup two weeks ago against the BC Lions, and it definitely showed. QB Ricky Ray had zero chemistry with his receivers whatsoever, and his offensive line was a train wreck. Ray and backup QB Kerry Joseph were sacked a combined eight times, and the former New York Jets backup tossed three picks as well. At one point in the first half, Ray had a 31 yard completion under his belt, but the team still had -3 yards of offense. Now, after three straight losses and a combined just 21 points scored in those three games, Edmonton has to hope that it can get the ball in the end zone a tad more often... Of course, one score would be more than what we have seen of late. If the Eskies don't score a TD in the first three minutes of the Battle of Alberta, they will have gone over three straight games in game time without logging a major.
Finding the end zone has been no problem for the Stampeders of late. They have scored 38, 45, and 32 points in their last three games, and they finally are looking like a side that should be contending for the Grey Cup this year. This 6-2 record probably isn't all that deserved, as the argument could still be made that this was a team that could have easily been 1-4 or 0-5 through five games, but in fairness, none of the losses came by more than five points either. That five point loss was right here at McMahon Stadium just six weeks ago to these Eskimos. You can bet that payback will be the theme going into this two game home and home set between these provincial rivals. QB Henry Burris, who drew the ire of many in Calgary at the start of the season, has officially returned as one of the elite signal callers in this league. Last week, he went toe to toe with QB Anthony Calvillo and the Montreal Alouettes, throwing for over 400 yards and coming up with nearly 450 total yards of offense and four score on the day to lead the team to a well deserved 38-31 triumph.
Normally speaking, when two teams meet just over a month apart, there isn't that much of a difference in the point spread. However, this time around, Edmonton is a dog by six more points than it was the first time around (and the first time, it won!). It's definitely justified though, and unless Stamps gets back in the fold, we just don't see how the Eskimos are keeping up with the Calgary offense, even off of its bye week.
Free CFL Pick: Calgary Stampeders -9 @ Bookmaker Sportsbook